Noon Meem Rashid (Nazar Muhammad Rashid)

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Nazar Muhammad Rashid (Urdu: نذر مُحَمَّد راشِد‎), (August 1, 1910 – October 9, 1975) commonly known as Noon Meem Rashid (Urdu: ن۔ م۔ راشد) or N.M. Rashid, was born as Nazar Muhammad Janjua. He was an influential Pakistani poet of modern Urdu poetry.

Early years:

Rashid was born in Janjua family of Village Kot Bhaaga, Akaal Garh ( Now Alipur Chatha), Tehsil Wazirabad, District, Gujranwala, Punjab, and earned a masters degree ineconomics from the Government College Lahore.[1]He served short in Royal Indian Army during second world war and reached to captaincy.

Career:

Rashid served for the UN and worked in many countries. He is considered to be the father of Modernism in Urdu Literature. Along withFaiz Ahmed Faiz, he is one of the great progressive poet in Pakistani literature. His themes run from the struggle against oppression to the relationship between words and meanings, between language and awareness and the creative process that produces poetry and other arts. Though intellectually deep, he is often attacked for his unconventional views and life-style. In an age when Pakistani literature and culture acknowledge their Middle Eastern roots, Rashid highlighted the Persian element in the making of his nation’s history and psyche. Rashed edited an anthology of modern Iranian poetry which contained not only his own translations of the selected works but also a detailed introductory essay. He rebelled against the traditional form of ‘ghazal’ and became the first major exponent of free verse in Urdu Literature. While his first book, Mavra, introduced free verse and is more technically accomplished and lyrical, his main intellectual and political ideals reach maturity in his last two books.

His readership is limited and recent social changes have further hurt his stature and there seems to be a concerted effort to not to promote his poetry. His first book of free verse, Mavra, was published in 1940 and established him as a pioneering figure in free formUrdu poetry.

He retired to England in 1973 and died in a London hospital in 1975. His body was cremated as requested in his will. This created an outcry in the conservative Pakistani circles and he was branded an infidel.Anyhow,he is considered a great figure in progressive Urdu literature.

Poetry:

N M Rashed was often attacked for his unconventional views and life style. According to Zia Muhiyyuddin, a friend of Rashed, “In the time when everybody was in quest of learning English, which was must for getting some decent job, Rashed was busy in making paintings or poetry.”

The themes of Rashed’s poetry run from the struggle against domination to the relationship between words and meanings, between language and awareness and the creative process that produces poetry and other arts.

Initially his poetry appeared to have influence of John Keats, Robert Browning and Matthew Arnold and wrote many sonnets on their pattern, but later on he managed to maintain his own style. It was his initial exercises of poetry, which could not last for longer period of time and ultimately he developed and maintained his own style.

He rebelled against the traditional form of ‘ghazal’ and became the first major exponent of free verse in Urdu Literature. While his first book, ‘Mavra’, introduced free verse and is more technically accomplished and lyrical.

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